Generally speaking, there are two primary objectives of a spine surgery. Fusion and/or Decompression.
The goal of a fusion is to completely immobilize the section of the spine surrounding the injured area. A fusion done for a herniated disc will remove the excess disc material and fix the adjacent vertebrae in place. This keeps the spine from compressing due to the lack of disc material, preventing bone on bone contact.
There are situations where a fusion is mandated, but it should not be a procedure taken lightly. A fusion will result in permanent loss of motion, which is not a desirable outcome.
For this reason, I recommend and perform minimally invasive decompression procedures.
A decompressive procedure is used to remove the element that is causing the pressure on the nerve or spinal cord. This is done by removing any bony buildup or disc material that has begun to compress the surrounding area in the spinal canal. When a fusion is not absolutely required, a decompression offers a much more preferable alternative.
The large benefit of a decompression over a fusion is that you maintain your original range of motion, and in some cases, you may actually gain additional range of motion.
With modern tools and technology, decompressive procedures can be done very quickly and painlessly to get you back on your feet in as little as the same day.
I hope this information has provided you with a little more insight as to the main purpose of the various spinal procedures available.
My staff and I are willing to answer any questions or concerns you have. If you think you are a candidate for a surgery, give us a call (305-690-0722) or you can contact me for a one-on-one consultation.